Step Four: Send La Caja (cont.).
We get an early start. It is Saturday and odds are the post office closes early. The internet displays two options. Luckily for us, one is really close. We walk the four or five blocks to the dot on the Google map. Lies! Nothing here looks like a post office so we set off asking questions.
As usual we bounce from street to street asking people forever getting closer. Today we keep hearing one word over and over: esquina. I have no idea what that means, Nicole is stumped also, but feels she should know. We are walking past a computer store and Nicole suggests we stop to tackle objective three - Find a cord for my phone. Honestly, getting a win sounds really nice, but not this way. I know the post office won't be open much past noon and keep my eyes on the prize. Two more people questioned, 12 more streets traversed, and 4 more "esquina"s. We ask another person and two more esquinas are dropped and it is clear we have overshot. This is good news.
We know we are zero'ing in on the post office and it isn't even noon. We turn around and Nicole is thirsty and suggests stopping at a convenience store. Again, this sounds like a great idea and gets better with every degree hotter it gets outside, but I know the post office won't be open much past noon and keep my eyes on the prize. I keep walking while Nicole ducks into the air conditioned beverage shopping experience.
I am three blocks up from the beverages and surveying the corner. Ahhhh, there it is, the post office (Esquina means corner by the way and that is a phrase book win and a phrase book user fail). How did we miss this? It is big, a bit off the intersection, but big. I make a beeline to the front doors. They must be tinted because it looks dark. The hours on the door clearly indicate that it is open for another full hour. As I am working the locked doors to a dark building I see the last employee leaving from the side.
While he is informing me that the post office is closed I manage to ask through my expiration and perspiration why is it closed a full hour before the posted time. The only answer I get repeatedly is "Lunes".
I backtrack to Nicole and she is just leaving the air conditioned purveyor of cold beverages. She hands me my water which I grab with my free hand and we walk back to the hotel.
I am still frustrated by not finding the original post office and it is close enough. I review the map again, scribble some notes and set out to the original destination just to prove it is Google and not me and hope I can actually get rid of la caja. Nicole is not interested and chooses to stay in the air conditioned hotel room.
I quickly make it back to the dot on Google maps and it looks just like on Google maps street view. I can't see anything so I walk into the only open store - a water store. I ask about the post office and he tells me there was one here about a year ago but it is gone. O.K. fine I still have the box but at least I know it is Google who is wrong and not me being an idiot. I head back to the hotel. The box is coming with us to San Pedro, Belize.
I return and declare my victory to Nicole and she informs me of her decision that we need to spend the day apart and that she is staying in the room. I quickly check the maps and tackle objective number two.
We are staying really close to the peer so getting the second objective is easy. There are two water taxi companies that run daily and they do alternate days so there is a taxi every day. As far as I can tell there is no difference between the two. They both leave at three and if we are really pushing it and sticking to the plan we would be on today's. But that is not how this story goes.
One objective cleared. The next proves to also be really easy. It is Saturday and I walk up the main road, Avenue of Heros. The streets are busy with consumers and sellers. I duck into the first phone store and ask for an iPhone…, man how do you say cord in Espaniol? Phrase book fail. All the same a quick mime gets my point across and I am back in the street with two out of three objectives completed. Now what?
I really don't have much else to do. I forgot my camera, my phone is about dead, so pictures are not few and far between, regardless I walk around Chetumal. I stop for some freshly cut watermelon to ease the hunger while I search for an acceptable eating establishment. I have a large juice and a very salty chicken, rice and beans lunch. I walk down the Avenue of Heros into a local open market and finish off the day with a beer listening to some live music watching the world pass by. All in all, this has been a good day. Tomorrow Nicole, Frog, la caja, and I head for Belize.